Cubans vote without Castro in charge
Cubans opened an election cycle Sunday that will lead to a decision next year on whether ailing leader Fidel Castro will remain atop the communist-run island's supreme governing body.
The nationwide municipal voting marked the start of a multitiered process that culminates with parliamentary elections next spring. Lawmakers could then decide to officially replace Castro, 81, with his younger brother Raul as head of the 31-member Council of State.
The elder Castro has been the island's unchallenged leader since his revolution toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. But he has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgeries and ceding power to a provisional government headed by his brother in July 2006.